Henri Poincare

From: http://euler.ciens.ucv.ve/English/mathematics/ (http://euler.ciens.ucv.ve/English/mathematics/%20)

Jules Henri Poincare, b. Apr. 29, 1854, d. July 17, 1912, was one of France's greatest theoretical scientists. His contributions to mathematics, mathematical physics, and celestial mechanics were often basic, profound, and highly original. His interest in the foundations and philosophical issues of the fields in which he worked were also influential and of considerable importance, particularly in France. Poincare entered the Ecole Polytechnique in 1873 and later studied at the Ecole des Mines, from which he received his doctorate in mathematics in 1879. He accepted a professorship of mathematical physics at the Sorbonne (University of Paris) in 1881, remaining there for the rest of his life. In mathematics, Poincare can be said to have been the originator of algebraic topology and of the theory of analytic functions of several complex variables. He also made fundamental advances in the theory of Abelian functions and in algebraic geometry. Moreover, as a student of Charles HERMITE, Poincare was interested in number theory; his major contribution was related to a problem in the theory of DIOPHANTINE EQUATIONS. Poincare was deeply involved in the mathematics relevant to problems of celestial mechanics, the THREE-BODY PROBLEM, and theories of light and electromagnetic waves. He is credited by many as a codiscoverer (with Albert Einstein and Hendrik Lorentz) of the special theory of relativity. He helped place celestial mechanics on a rigorous basis in two major works: New Methods of Celestial Mechanics (3 vols., 1892-99; Eng. trans., 1967) and Lecons de mecanique celeste (Lessons of Celestial Mechanics, 1905-10). Of his most popular and philosophical writings, notice must be made of Science and Hypothesis (1901; Eng. trans., 1905), Science and Method (1908; Eng. trans., 1914), and The Value of Science (1904; Eng. trans., 1907). Author: Joseph W. Dauben Bibliography: Bell, Eric T., Men of Mathematics (1937; repr. 1986); Dantzig, Tobias, Henri Poincare, Critic of Crisis (1954; repr. 1968); Hadamard, Jacques S., The Early Scientific Work of Henri Poincare (1922) and The Later Scientific Work of Henri Poincare (1933); Morgan, Bryan, Men and Discoveries in Mathematics (1972); Slosson, Edwin E., Major Prophets of Today (1914; repr. 1968).